Lessons from Santa

I retired from the Army, grew a beard, and became Santa.

Day three one of my elves whispered, “Santa, you’re about to see three orphans. Their foster parents have been approved to adopt them, and they want YOU to tell them!”
Stunned, I mumbled, “What would you like for Christmas?” I didn’t hear their requests, wondering, “What can I say? What CAN I say?”
Then it came to me. I said, “I’ll see, but I have something for you today.”
“What’s that Santa?” the oldest asked.
“A Family,” I said.
They looked puzzled, but when I explained they were staying together, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

In … continue

1998 – France

I had the great opportunity to be in France that year in the month that the world cup was playing. I remember driving long and beautiful landscape-filled-hours from Denmark all the way to the south of France to a small town called Bagnols-en-Foret. France qualified to the final game against Brazil. The once small and peaceful town I knew became a metropolis with large screen projectors and hundreds and hundreds of french people and maybe a dozen Brazilian supporters, which included my parents that had decided they were going to support the latin-american team over the european.
The thing is, I was born only 5 years before this world cup, … continue

The Power Of “Knowing Thyself”— a story of Self-discovery

At the end of Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Ivan lies dying after leading a colorless, mediocre life. He has only one thought: What if I lived my entire life wrong? I read this book in college almost twenty-five years ago, and in 2010, it came back full circle to kick-start my transformation.

I used to get angry and fret about the simplest of things. I was continually frustrated and disengaged. I never stopped to consider if what I was doing was what I really wanted to do. I just set out like I was in a short hurdle race, running at full tilt and overcoming whatever came my … continue

The Goddess Within Us

We were visiting a temple in South India during our family trip. A common sight at the entrance of any temple is a row of poor people expecting money or food from the devotees.
While standing in the queue awaiting Darshan, I saw a man in front of me sarcastically pointing out to a woman who was extraordinarily obese. All the people in the queue turned towards her. She was sitting on the pavement with tattered clothes and a broken bowl in her hands. Her head was bent down. I felt sad for her. I wondered why the goddess would let anyone live like that. That too, someone so near … continue

Children to Mother

Her body is still warm. Less than an hour has passed since she embraced her everlasting peace. The witching hour rain a drizzling rhythm. The only other sound sterile monitors chirping feeding the surrounding sleeplessness of those dearest belonging to our beloved departed. Her skin is clean smooth and soft to touch. A snapshot of youth in this final moment. The grey haired crown almost invisible. All we see is the child she once was long ago. Seconds slipped away at the speed of light. One last kiss. Lips to forehead. Children to mother.

My mom passed away suddenly not so long ago. A generations’ old family blood curse cast … continue

Learning Not To Judge By Voices Alone

December 31st, 2017, just before the new year, I was told I have auditory hallucinations. What this means, for me, is that I hear voices in my head almost constantly. They tell me things like “You’re weak,” “You’re ugly,” “You act like a little girl. It’s no wonder people don’t take you seriously” and so on. This particular discovery was especially hard for me to come to grips with for obvious reasons. “People are gonna think I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy.” The most harrowing aspect of the experience was a memory I had when I was about twelve-years-old.

I was on a camping trip with my church and I … continue

Who Is Your Inspiration?

Who is your inspiration? Who is your idol?” one of my university lecturers asked us during my Masters studies at a Dutch Design School. She was hinting at famous designers, celebrities or architects. “My grandmother” I replied. “Your grandmother? Really? Why do you say your grandmother?” “Because she is a strong woman, and she is the glue of the family. She has survived cancer numerous times despite doctors predicting she’d have ‘a few months to live’, she is a true fighter and has a great sense of humour. She is like a second mother to me, but more importantly we are great friends”. My grandmother taught me that age is continue

The Second Chance

About two years ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer. For the third time. My mother is a strong woman but dealing with cancer again and facing a chemotherapy weighed heavily on her. I was with her when the doctor told her the news a couple of days before Christmas. I almost couldn’t bear the feeling of not being able to help her to get rid of this terrible disease. But of course I knew that I could at least be there for her. From the moment we sat together in front of the doctor my relationship to my mother changed significantly. Since I live abroad I reorganized my whole … continue

We do not own our children

They were born in a private Athens clinic in Greece when, at 39 and pregnant, I moved from NYC .There, doctors referred to them as ‘Twin A’ and ‘ Twin B’ on prenatal scans. I soon adopted Alpha and Beta as my unborn babies’ names. August 1st was extremely early for their delivery, but they wouldn’t wait ! Beta, my bright orange- haired daughter, perfectly formed, died as my husband and I dropped tears onto her incubator and spoke of the great love we had for her. A short life; 48 hours only. Alpha, my son, was transferred across to Pedon Childrens’ Hospital where he lived bravely for more than … continue

Progressive parenting?

We have a little white cardboard box at home marked: Box of bad memories. Do not often open.
Everyone knows where it is, approximately. It is not hidden away or locked up against prying eyes. Occasionally it becomes buried under housed debris; sometimes it disappears, only to be rediscovered with a new entry written inside. Anyone can use it, no questions asked.
My Mum was brought up in a large, hard Scots households, where expressing emotions or expecting empathy was seen as a sure sign of weakness of character and firmly discouraged. To her credit she was determined that the next generation be permitted such luxuries, till overwhelmed, the drawbridge … continue

Breaking the vicious circle

I was born in a slum area of Mumbai. I can’t remember having a best friend and till I was 12, I did not really know what a birthday celebration was. My dream was to finish school but the odds were not in my favor. In my slum area, there is no supportive environment for girls’ education. No one to inspire or guide us. So most of us drop out. I was no exception.
In 10th grade I failed my exams and had to quit school. My failure was taken as an evidence that girls should not be educated. I had no choice but so start working in order to … continue

Songs to save planet Earth

Hi. Guess what? I’m Bipolar. So far I’ve had two jaunts in the psych ward, the second more harrowing than the first. I hope I never have to go back again. I think I have the right combination of meds this second time around. Living with Bipolar means a constant nagging paranoia in conjunction with a bit of a messianic complex which I am to understand is “normal.” Other than that I’m peachy.

Like everyone else, sleep is vital to my well-being. I used to be a night owl party girl who lived to burn the midnight oil, but now I’m in bed by 9. Every night I wake up … continue